Tag Archives: Charles Paget

On this day in 1581 – Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton died

Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton was born on 24th April 1545 and was the only surviving son of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton and Jane Cheney. At his christening at St Andrew’s, Holborn, both King Henry VIII and Charles Brandon were appointed his godfathers and Princess Mary was his godmother. Wriothesley had five sisters and two brothers, who both died young.

From the age of two until his father’s death in July 1550 he was called Lord Wriothesley but after his father’s death he inherited his earldom and became a royal ward. The King granted Wriothesley’s custody to Sir William Herbert before it was acquired by his mother before being granted in 1560 to Sir William More of Loseley.

On 19th February 1566 Wriothesley married the 13 year old Mary Browne, daughter of Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu. Wriothesley was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn on 19th March of the same year. Wriothesley reached his majority as well in 1556 and was granted his inheritance by letters patent on 7th February 1568, according to J.G. Elzinga in their biography of Wriothesley; he had six residences and an income that was between £2000 and £3000.

Wriothesley was raised Catholic and there was a strain during Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the strain first arose in February 1569 when Wriothesley’s brother in law wrote to Sir William Cecil saying that Wriothesley should be ‘rather charitably won than severely corrected’ when it came to religion. In the summer of 1569 Queen Elizabeth visited Wriothesley at his home at Titchfield Abbey, however, by November of the same year along with his father in law, Viscount Montagu, Wriothesley were implicated in the Northern Rebellion in particularly in a letter from Guerau de Spes, the Spanish ambassador, to the Duke of Alba dated 1st December 1569 in which he wrote that both Wriothesley and his father in law ‘have sent to me for advice as to whether they should take up arms or go over to your Excellency’. Wriothesley and Montagu set sail for Flanders but bad weather forced them back to England and they were summoned to appear in front of the council to explain their actions, although they both remained unpunished.

Following Pope Pius V excommunication of Elizabeth in May 1570 Wriothesley contacted the Bishop of Ross, John Lesley, and attempted to secretly meet him in the marshes of Lambeth where he was intercepted and on 18th June 1570 his arrest was ordered by the Privy Council and he was placed under house arrest at the home of Henry Becher, Sheriff of London. On 15th July he was transferred to Loseley and was now in the custody of Sir William More. More was instructed to ensure that Wriothesley took part in Protestant devotions and after complying Wriothesley was released in November of the same year.

In September 1571 whilst John Lesley was being questioned regarding the Ridolfi Plot he revealed the full story regarding his meeting with Wriothesley and as a result Wriothesley was arrested and placed in the Tower of London for 18 months. He was eventually released on 1st May 1573 and once again placed into the custody of Sir William More at Loseley until 14th July when he was permitted to live with his father in law at Cowdray although his movement was restricted.

On 6th October 1573 Wriothesley wrote to Sir William More to announce the birth of his son, Henry the future 3rd Earl of Southampton. For the next six years Wriothesley was granted small offices from the Queen and seemed to be in favour. Following his mother’s death in 1574 his income grew and he commissioned the building of a mansion at Dogmersfield.

Wriothesley’s marriage began to deteriorate at in 1577 he reportedly forbid his wife from seeing Donsame, although just two years later a report was given to Wriothesley stating that his wife had been seen with Donsame at Dogmersfield. As a result he banished her to one of his Hampshire estates under surveillance however, his wife, Mary, defended herself denied all accusations of adultery instead accusing Thomas Dymock, a servant of causing the rift between herself and her husband.

Wriothesley died on 4th October 1581 at his home of Itchell, Dogmersfield and was buried at Titchfield on 30th November. He left behind an estate valued at £1097 6s per annum, in his will he named Thomas Dymock and Charles Paget as executors. His estranged wife contested the will with the aid of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and a settlement was agreed on 11th December 1581 in which Thomas Dymock would retain that what was bequested to him but the rest of the estate was passed into the care of Edward Gage, another executor of Wriothesley’s will.

Henry Wriothesley tombThe tomb of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton,

alongside the tomb of his mother, Jane Cheney.

On this day in 1585 – Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland died.

Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland was born in 1532 at Newburn Manor, he was the second son of Sir Thomas Percy and his wife Eleanor Harbottle. Percy and his brother, Thomas, were brought up in Northumberland and therefore were close to the Scottish borders and were likely to have witnessed battles between the English and Scottish.

During the reign of Queen Mary I Henry Percy was appointed governor of Tynemouth Castle, where in his later life Percy’s wife would give birth to their son, also Henry, here in 1564. Percy was also a Member of Parliament for Morpeth in 1554, knighted in 1557 and was also appointed as deputy warden of the east and middle marches.

With the accession of Queen Elizabeth I Percy was kept in his chief offices with the excpetion of having to transfer his governship of Tynemouth Castle in order to become captain of Norham Castle. However, he was reappointed back to Tynemouth in 1561.

With war against Scotland breaking out in 1560 Percy was given command of a body of light horse and led a troop in battle. With the French defeat at Leith, the commander of the French army D’Oyzelle asked if he could surrender his sword to Percy and not the commander-in-chief, Lord Grey.

Percy was commissioned in 1561 along with the Thomas Young, Archbishop of York, to administer the Oath of Supremacy to the clergy in the north. Percy’s position in the north was strengthened at the end of the year when he married Catherine Neville, daughter and co-heiress of John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer, they went on to have 11 children. After his marriage he was appointed Sheriff of Northumberland in 1562.

In late 1569 the Rising of the North occurred in which Henry Percy’s elder brother, Thomas was a chief leader. Henry Percy however, remained loyal to the Queen and the government and he joined the royal army in the fight against the rebels. With his brother captured and imprisoned in Scotland Percy wrote to him to urge him to confess his guilt and appeal to the Queen’s mercy. Instead Thomas Percy was executed in York in 1572. Henry Percy was awarded the title of Earl of Northumberland.

However, Percy was not as loyal as he seemed. On 15th November 1571 he was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. He had been found communicating with John Lesley, bishop of Ross, offering his help to free Mary, Queen of Scots from Tutbury. On 23rd February 1572 Percy wrote to the Queen begging to be released, however, he was left in the Tower for the next 18 months until he was brought to trial charged with treason. Once again begging the Queen’s mercy he was fined 5000 marks and ordered to remain under house arrest at his home at Petworth. It wasn’t until 12th July 1573 when he was summoned to London and given his freedom.

On 8th February 1576 he took his seat in the House of Lords for the first time and he was appointed as one of the royal commissioners to prorogue parliament in November.

In 1582, Percy was once again brought into the plots surrounding Mary, Queen of Scots when he met with M.de Bex, a French agent, and looked at Throckmorton’s plot to free the Scottish Queen. He was once again arrested along with Lord Henry Howard and Francis Throckmorton. Percy was sent to the Tower again, unlike his previous stay he was only here for a few weeks and was not charged although he was stripped of his governship of Tynemouth Castle. Once released Percy was still keen to release Mary and the following September he met Charles Paget and his brother at his home, Petworth to discuss the matter fully. Percy offered advice as to where the French troops could land to launch their rescue mission. One of Percy’s aides was also present at this meeting, William Shelley. Shelley was arrested and tortured and confessed all about Percy’s meeting but claimed that it was Percy’s mission to not only rescue Mary but to also extort from the Queen full toleration towards Roman Catholics.

Henry Percy found himself, for a third time, in the Tower of London where he continued to protest his innocence and beg for the Queen’s mercy. On 20th June 1585 six months after being imprisoned Percy was found dead in his cell. He had been shot through the heart, it was declared.

Percy’s death has always been suspicious the day before his death he was placed under the care of a new warden by the Lieutenant of the Tower on orders of Sir Christopher Hatton. Rumours spread that Hatton was responsible for Percy’s death and many years later Sir Walter Raleigh wrote to Sir Robert Cecil referring the Hatton’s guilt. Percy was buried in the church of St. Peter ad Vincula within the grounds of the Tower of London.

Interior of St Peter ad VinculaThe interior of St. Peter ad Vincula